We live in a time when it is easy for the media to take over. When it comes to young people in particular, taming the beast that is social media can be difficult. The Miami 4 Social Change Youth Festival presented by URGENT, Inc. does just that, and does it so well. This dynamic two-day event is dedicated to showcasing the talent of young people under the age of twenty-four.
“We started the youth film festival seven years ago because we run a program called FACE (Film, Art, Culture, and Entrepreneurship), and this program is designed to introduce teenagers to creative careers. The kids were creating such great work that I thought more people needed to see what was coming out of our young people,” says Dr. Saliha Nelson, who is CEO of URGENT, Inc., a development nonprofit of Young Creatives dedicated to empowering young creative minds to transform their communities.
One such talented creator is Shayla Smikle, a recent high school graduate who describes herself as “outgoing and shy” and is the author of the short Super hero. “He’s about a guy who just feels unmotivated. He goes through a lot in life. It’s almost like no one understands him and he’s just trying to build that motivation. He actually gets that spark of motivation inside film Smikle began her creative journey as a digital cinema intern and apprentice at Urgent Inc. “When I applied for this internship, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought that I was just going to do something like automatically take photos and videos. I had no idea that I was going to have so many tools and stepping stones to be able to build myself up and become the person I am now. When I arrived , I barely knew how to turn on a camera to take pictures.
Other captivating shorts at this year’s 4 Youth Festival of Social Change include Make a wishwhich showed the vulnerability of a child’s happiness and Housea story about how sometimes the lines between reality and misunderstanding can be blurred.
The main objective of the festival seems to be to help young people, even those who do not have work to be presented at the event. The festival included masterclasses given by industry professionals and speeches by celebrity guests. This year’s list included workshops on public relations, improvement and dissemination; and a keynote from model and actor Sergio Delavicci who gave a captivating talk about chasing your dreams and the importance of being your best advocate. “I feel like the youth are the future of this country,” Delavicci said. “And it is the responsibility of individuals like me to set an example for this generation so that this generation can set a good example for the next generation.”
With interesting entertainment and a fun atmosphere, this year’s Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival was a success.